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April 2004 - Dance Clubs, Wigs, and Salad Dressing

Dance Club
I finally went clubbing in Tottori a few times.  The club had a small, community-like feeling to it, so I kinda felt like I was at the local hoe-down.  I ran into a few of my students, and the other foreigners there randomly talked to me just cuz I'm a foreigner.  The foreigners here all seem to stick together.  Since the overwhelming majority are English teachers, we all have something in common from the get-go.  Instead of asking, "what do you do?" you could ask "where do you teach?"  

The dancing was interesting.  Everyone faced the DJ at the front of the room, so it kinda looked like an aerobics class.  No one really danced together.  The DJ played really odd music (American 70s lounge music that I didn't recognize).  Apparently, Tottori's DJ talent doesn't exactly meet LA standards.  I even gave the DJ a note in Japanese asking that he  please play some hip hop.  He didn't.  But all in all it was still fun.  I liked how everyone was nice to each other.  Kinda refreshing.

Osaka
I had a 3-day weekend a while back, so I went to Osaka.  I went clubbing there twice.  The Osaka club reminded me a lot of LA.  It was even situated in an area known as "America Village."  Everyone was all decked out, and there were so many other foreigners there that I almost forgot I was in Japan.  I also hung out with my friend Chikayo.  It was really nice seeing her again.

On Sunday, I played guitar on the streets of Osaka's cultural district.  The Umeda district has tons of bands playing on Sunday afternoons (all packed onto the numerous criss-crossing foot bridges in front of Osaka Station), so I decided to join the fun.  It went over okay.  I didn't have an amp, so people had a very hard time hearing me over the other bands nearby.  However, people really turned their heads when I started singing Japanese songs.  I just bought a battery-powered amp and some effects equipment, so I plan on going back with that in hand.  Next time I'll have a much better setup.  I'm hoping there's a niche for a dorky foreigner singing dorky Japanese songs.  We'll see!

Smoking
I saw an anti-smoking campaign on TV.  That was a shocker considering everyone and their dogs smoke in this country.

Mondaiji
Our head teacher Maiko and our assistant manager Keiko are both leaving, so we now have a new head teacher (Maiko) and assistant manager (Nami).  I thought it was an odd coincidence that the new head teacher has the exact same name.  We threw a going away party for Maiko (she's leaving first) at my apartment this past weekend.  I was amazed that we fit 10 people into my 22 square-meter apartment.  I wrote Maiko a going away song called "Mondaiji" (problem child).  It's a nickname given to me by my coworkers since I like to joke around so much.  Maiko was the strict one that labeled me as such.

You Guys Make Good Dressing
I've been eating a lot of salad lately cuz Japanese salad dressing is freakin' good!  Food of the gods, man!  They make this heavenly dressing from white sesame ("goma").  It's so good I drink the left-over dressing and lick the bowl clean.  I think I may fill a drinking bottle with it and take swigs between classes.

Mamoru
I have a new student--an older guy that wears a wig cuz he's bald.  The wig REALLY looks like a wig.  His English isn't so good, so he keeps scratching his head in class when he gets lost.  Throughout the class, the wig gradually turns more and more askew.  The 2 other students in the class are both high school girls.  They notice the askew wig.  I notice the askew wig.  Mamoru doesn't notice his askew wig.  I shoot the girls a look that says, "Don't laugh.  Don't do it.  Hold it in, ladies."  It's pretty awkward and has added an element of challenge to the class.

Go Slow
We started a new "semester" cuz the Japanese financial and school year begins in April.  I have a bunch of new students that often give me the "deer in the headlights" look.  Whoops.  I'd better slow down.

Golden Week
Golden Week is a cluster of national holidays at the very beginning of May.  I get a solid week of vacation, so I'm goin' to Seoul, Korea for 4 nights.  I'm really excited since I studied Tae Kwon Do for 8 years and have always wanted to visit Korea.  Too bad the only Korean I know is how to count and some useless terms for kicks and punches.  I can order 3 front kicks at a restaurant.

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